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What Is the Cap on Workers’ Comp Benefits in Ohio?

October 18, 2021

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If you get hurt on the job and need to file for workers’ comp benefits, you may have two major concerns. First, you’re worried about whether your application will be approved. And second, you’re worried about how much money you can get to replace your lost income.

There IS a cap on workers’ comp benefits, and while it’s high enough that many workers will still be able to provide for themselves and their families, some injured workers may be burdened by it.

As of Jan. 1, 2021, Ohio’s Maximum Weekly Benefit is $1,019.00

Each year, Ohio raises its maximum workers’ compensation benefit. On Jan. 1, 2021, it increased to $1,019.00 from $980.00 in 2020. On Jan. 1, 2022, it will increase again. These increases are designed to keep up with the cost of living and inflation and match the average weekly wage in Ohio.

However, not all injured workers receive the maximum benefit. For example, workers who make around $1,000 per week will receive only a percentage of that amount depending on their injury and how long it’s expected to last.

Total Temporary Disability Compensation

People whose injuries render them totally disabled, but are expected to heal, can receive up to 72% of their average weekly wage, based on their average weekly wages from the previous 52 weeks. That means that a person who earned $1,000 per week before they were injured will receive $720 per week. However, this benefit only lasts for 12 weeks.

After 12 weeks, injured workers receive a maximum of 66.66% of their average salaries. These benefits end when workers are ruled to no longer be disabled and can return to work—or if their employers reconfigure their positions to accommodate their disabilities.

Permanent Total Disability Compensation

If the injured worker’s injuries last for the rest of their life, their benefits will fall under the category of permanent total disability compensation. In this category, their benefits are capped at 66.66% of their average weekly wage based on the previous 52 weeks of earnings. A worker who earned $1,000 per week and is paid according to permanent total disability compensation would receive $666 per week.

Permanent Partial Disability Compensation

People who are only partially disabled, but whose disability is expected to last for life, are also eligible for benefits, which are capped just like total temporary and permanent disability payments. Unlike total disability payments, partial disability payments are awarded on an individual basis and according to extent of the injury. So, a worker who is considered 20% disabled can receive up to 20% of the maximum workers’ compensation benefit.

Severe injuries, such as amputations, the loss of an eye/vision, or the loss of an extremity can make injured workers eligible for maximum benefits for 150 weeks. Disfiguring injuries are also calculated differently, and workers with these injuries can receive up to $10,000 in compensation. In some cases, workers with permanent partial disabilities may receive lump-sum payments rather than bi-weekly payments.

Who Gets Ohio’s Maximum Weekly Benefit?

Because all forms of workers’ compensation benefits are capped well under the maximum weekly benefit, the only people who reach that cap are those who earn considerably more than the cap on average during the 52 weeks before they were injured.

Given the current cap of $1,019.00, workers in the first 12 weeks of their total temporary disability benefits would need to have earned around $1,415.00 per week to take home the maximum benefit, while workers receiving benefits after that period or receiving permanent total disability benefits would need to have earned around $1,530.00 per week to receive the maximum benefit.

Our Experienced Workers’ Comp Lawyers Have the Answers You Need

Ohio’s workers’ compensation system is invaluable for helping injured workers and their families stay on their feet after devastating on-the-job accidents and illnesses. But the system isn’t perfect. Many workers fall through the cracks, and their applications are seemingly ignored or rejected for minor reasons. In addition, many injured workers don’t know how to advocate for themselves, and they lose out on thousands of dollars.

At Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy, our Ohio workers’ compensation lawyers know the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation inside and out, and we don’t leave our clients’ applications up to fate or the whims of a backlogged bureaucracy. Contact us today for a free consultation. We’re here to help you get your application approved on time and in full.

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